73 (passed away May. 26th, 2008)
Jul. 1st, 1934
Lafayette, Indiana, USA
Sydney Pollack's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Sydney Pollack was an Academy Award-winning director, producer, actor, writer and public figure, who directed and produced over 40 films.
He was born on July 1, 1934, in Lafayette, Indiana, USA, to a family of Russian-Jewish immigrants. His mother, Rebecca Miller, was a homemaker. His father, David Pollack, was a professional boxer turned pharmacist. His parents divorced when he was young. His mother, an alcoholic, died at age 37, when Sydney Pollack was 16. He spent his formative years in Indiana, graduating from his HS in 1952, then moved to the New York City.
From 1952-1954 young Pollack studied acting with Sanford Meisner at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York. He served two years in the army, and then returned to the Neighbourghood Playhouse and taught acting. In 1958, Pollack married his former student Claire Griswold. They had three children. Their son, Steven Pollack, died in a plane crash on November 26, 1993, in Santa Monica, California. Their daughter, Rebecca Pollack, served as vice president of film production at United Artists during the 1990s. Their youngest daughter, Rachel Pollack, was born in 1969.
Pollack began his acting career on stage, then made his name as television director in the early 1960s. He made his big screen acting debut in War Hunt (1962), where he met fellow actor Robert Redford (I), and the two co-stars established a life-long friendship. Pollack called on his good friend Redford to play opposite Natalie Wood (I) in This Property Is Condemned (1966). Pollack and Redford worked together on six more films over the years. His biggest success came with Out of Africa (1985), starring Robert Redford (I) and Meryl Streep. The movie earned eleven Academy Award nominations in all and seven wins, including Pollack's two Oscars: one for Best Direction and one for Best Picture.
Pollack showed his best as a comedy director and actor in Tootsie (1982), where he brought feminist issues to public awareness using his remarkable wit and wisdom, and created a highly entertaining film, which was nominated for ten Academy Awards. Pollack's directing revealed Dustin Hoffman's range and nuanced acting in gender switching from a dominant boyfriend to a nurse in drag, a brilliant collaboration of director and actor that broadened public perception about sex roles. Pollack also made success in producing such films as The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), The Quiet American (2002) and Cold Mountain (2003). Pollack returned to the director's chair in 2004, when he directed The Interpreter (2005), the first film ever shot on location at the United Nations Headquarters and within the General Assembley in New York City.
In 2000, Sydney Pollack was honored with the John Huston Award from the Directors Guild of America as a "defender of artists' rights." He died from cancer on May 26, 2008, at his home in the Los Angeles suburb of Pacific Palisades, California.
- Battled cancer for almost nine months at the time of his death.
- In 2000, co-founder, with 'Anthony Minghella' (qv), of "Mirage Enterprises" to produce films.
- Among the 100 best American love movies ranked by American Film Institute in June, 2002, Pollack is the only director credited with two films near the top of list. His _The Way We Were (1973)_ (qv) is ranked #6 and _Out of Africa (1985)_ (qv) is ranked #13.
- Was first choice to direct _The Saint (1997)_ (qv).
- Kate Winslet dedicated her first Oscar win to Sydney Pollack and his partner in Mirage Enterprises, Anthony Minghella, following their deaths.
- Owns and flies a Cessna Citation 750 jet, N138SP.
- Pollack directed (and won an Oscar for) _Out of Africa (1985)_ (qv), which is based on a book by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) which starts, "I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills." He also executive produced _"The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" (2008)_ (qv), which is based on a series of books by Alexander McCall Smith, the first of which starts, "Mma Ramotswe had a detective agency in Africa, at the foot of the Kgale Hill." Smith's opening line is a deliberate literary reference to the opening line of Isak Dinesen's classic memoir about Kenya.
- Was the original choice to direct _Dirty Harry (1971)_ (qv).